5 Essential Skills Every Digital Nomad Should Have

Digital nomadism has gone from what once seemed to be an unobtainable pipe dream to an everyday reality for thousands of travelers over the last few years. It continues to seduce an entire generation with the promise of freedom, exotic locales and an escape from the rat race.

However, being a digital nomad isn’t all white-sand beaches, hammocks and cocktails. There are many challenges to face in living the laptop lifestyle, and it requires a certain set of skills to not only survive, but thrive. Some of these skillsets you may be lucky enough to be naturally blessed with, but if not, most of them can be learned.

Whether you are still dreaming about buying that one way ticket to freedom, have decided to take the leap but aren’t sure if you’ve got what it takes, or already have the passport stamps to prove your nomadic lifestyle, there are some things you should try to master.

Here are five important skills that will help you navigate your journey.

1. Being disciplined, organized and productive

Digital Nomads working in a Bali co-working space

Digital Nomads working in a Bali co-working space

As a digital nomad, you will be working while traveling. This is not always the easiest thing to balance. At times, you may be tired after a long trip and just want to rest. Or you will make great new friends who you want to go on adventures with.

Being in new places is exciting, and you will be drawn to get out and discover them, particularly when you find yourself in beautiful destinations with amazing weather. But such is digital nomad life, that you may not be able to do all the things you want to do. That is why discipline plays a big role if you want to keep up the lifestyle.

There will be times when you will need to force yourself to work, even if you don’t feel like it or would rather be doing other things. You may find yourself getting caught up in the excitement of travel and avoiding deadlines or shrugging off work – then freaking out when you have left everything until the last minute.

To avoid this from happening too often, it is important that you are organized. Get into the habit of creating to-do lists if that helps you out. Plan your work in advance so you can effectively budget your time and meet those deadlines. Organize yourself in a way that works best for you, so that you are not only productive but still able to enjoy the awesome location you are in.

That is why it’s important to be efficient and make good use of the time you do have to work. If you set yourself a goal to work four hours, really make those hours count. That way you will get more done in the time you have, which means more free time, or having extra time up your sleeve if something unexpected comes up.

2. Being able to deal with loneliness

digital nomad skills girl on rock

Be OK being by yourself

Life on the road, as great as it is, can get lonely sometimes. Sure, you will meet a lot of people wherever you go, but most likely, by necessity, the friendships you develop will be fleeting, as you both continue your travels.

Sometimes you might travel to somewhere where you won’t meet many people, or maybe you don’t really connect with the people you meet.

Life as a nomad can be lonely, with a lack of familiar faces and meaningful, long-term connections. Some people thrive on solitude, while others are not able to deal with it.

Learn to be happy with yourself, develop a self-care schedule for those hard times, and be prepared to face loneliness once in a while.

3. Flexibility and being able to make decisions

digital nomad skills girl on beach swing

Remember to take time off

During your travels, you will face situations where things don’t go the way you planned. You can either curl up in a ball and cry, get angry about it, or be flexible and develop the art of rapid decision making.

Maybe your flight gets cancelled, you miss a bus, or your Airbnb host cancels at the last minute. In these situations, you need to stay calm, be flexible, and find an alternative.

You might also meet people during your travels that have a great trip planned that you can join, or your plans might change from one day to the other.

Being in new places that you don’t know your way around will force you to make snap decisions every day. Learn to make these decisions rationally and effectively, without worrying too much if it was the right thing to do.

Make a decision and stick to it – but remain adaptable – it’s a delicate balance but something you should master.

4. Being positive and accepting failure

digital nomad skills beach hand stand

Stay positive and have fun in the process

As we said before, sometimes things might not go the way we plan, especially when it comes to working. No matter how talented you are, there may be times when you feel like you are failing.

A client might cancel, maybe you are having a hard time finding new clients, or the online business that you started is not growing as fast as you would like it to.

You need to know that you are going to experience failure during your travels – everyone does. And it is not necessarily a bad thing. Think of each “failure” as an opportunity to try a different method, go in a different direction, or just learn how to do it better next time.

It is important to keep a positive mind and don’t panic.

You are living the life you dreamt of, and it is totally worth it, so there is no need for negative thoughts. You are travelling around the world while experiencing things others only see in pictures.

A positive mind will also attract positive thoughts, and therefore more opportunities. People will vibe off your positivity and are more likely be attracted to you, whether if it is for a job, friendship or something else.

5. Know yourself and what you are worth

digital nomad skills photographer

What are you willing to work for?

It is very important to know your own worth and understand your strengths and capabilities. Know yourself and your body. When you travel, you will face situations where you might not feel comfortable. In those situations, it is important that you know what your limits are.

You will learn a lot about yourself during your travels. You will learn about your fears, your boundaries and how strong you really are.

It is also important that you know how much you are worth. A lot of times people tend to underestimate themselves. 

Knowing your worth is especially important when it comes to selling your services or finding a job. Don’t sell any service you provide for less than you deserve. Learn how to market yourself so that you can work from anywhere, doing a job you enjoy and are proud of.

How many of these skills do you have?

digital nomad skills laptop city

Work from anywhere with stable internet connections

Now that we have gone over some important skills you should have; do you think you have what it takes? Do you think the areas you are lacking in are things you can learn?

If you feel you don’t have many, it doesn’t matter, you can learn most of them and practice makes perfect. The important thing is that you are prepared for the challenges and are willing to grow from the experiences you collect.

If you do have most of these skills, you are ready to go. Get out there and make your dream life come true because no one else is going to do it for you.

If you are ready to start your new adventure but are still wondering how to afford it, check out these 10 jobs that will allow you to work anywhere.

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Thinking of starting a new life as a globe-trotting digital nomad? Make sure you have these essential skills to make sure your journey is a successful one.

About the Author

We are Carla and Oliver and together we run Exciting Adventure. We left our lives in Berlin to travel and explore the world. We became nomads by doing it and now we are on our way to become digital. You can follow our journey on our blog, where we give useful tips so that you can do the same. We believe that everyone should do what they love, and for us, it is easier as digital nomads.

2 thoughts on "5 Essential Skills Every Digital Nomad Should Have"

  • Mandy Yanga says:

    I surely have a problem in being organized. I always tend to adapt to my messy environment wherever I am and I really don’t mind it. But I also experienced working after I just cleaned and organized everything around me–and it clearly has an effect! It makes me more productive a little bit than when I’m working with a messy environment.

  • Chris Rogers says:

    Being a digital nomad is really challenging but a fun experience. Joining in co-working spaces after co-working spaces in different parts of the world allowed me to become more open to cultural differences and made me manage to become more flexible and be more of a people-person.


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